Lead Performer: Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY
-- tkFabricate – Syracuse, NY
-- Cocoon Construct – Syracuse, NY
DOE Total Funding: $500,000
Cost Share: $125,000
Project Term: 18 months
Funding Type: Advanced Building Construction FOA Award

As part of the ABC FOA topic Integrated Building Retrofits, this project is one of a cohort of Phase 1 projects that will design and prototype a technology or approach that provides a deep energy-saving retrofit solution for one or more building energy systems. Once completed, BTO will conduct a competitive review of this project, along with all Phase 1 projects, to down-select recipients for Phase 2 awards that focus on a whole-building deep energy retrofit solution. Phase 2 awardees will develop and field-validate their retrofit solution from Phase 1 on at least two occupied, operational buildings.

Project Objective

This project will develop a transformative whole-building energy-efficiency retrofit solution for attached single-family homes in cold/very cold climate regions. The approach will also be extendable to detached single-family residences and low-rise multifamily housing and will be affordable enough for public and private building owners to implement.

The project team will develop three key technical innovations to achieve this goal:

  • A novel highly insulated manufactured exterior building envelope retrofit system that can be modularly attached to existing building enclosures. It will contain all windows, doors, and openings for mechanical services and will achieve airtightness at an installed cost targeted at less than $15 per square foot.
  • An envelope-integrated HVAC solution that connects to a compatible and optimally sized modular mechanical pod providing real-time performance monitoring to enhance indoor space conditioning and air quality.
  • A retrofit protocol and design decision-making platform including a digital component database and modular-based design and analysis tool for selecting and scaling the retrofit modules and optimizing the entire retrofit system for site-specific conditions.

Prototypes for the retrofit solution will be developed, tested, and verified using Syracuse University’s Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory (BEESL) and the Building Envelope Systems Test (BEST) facility. The design decision-making platform, digital component database, and retrofit protocol will be developed for designing, documenting, and implementing the whole-building retrofit solution.

Project Impact

For retrofits in cold/very cold climates to maximize potential energy savings, they must capture efficiencies in energy performance, installation, and ongoing operations and maintenance while delivering thermal comfort, design aesthetics, and competitive cost benefit to ensure market acceptance. This project addresses the critical need for innovation in integrated processes for retrofit design, analysis, fabrication, and installation to capture economies of scale, compress time and cost, and facilitate widespread applicability and adoption. The resulting approach to deep energy-efficiency retrofits will be affordable for building owners with a return on investment of no more than 25 years and estimated energy savings of about 75%. If applied to multiple residential building types across the U.S., the proposed approach could lead to potential energy savings of 2,077 tBtu.


DOE Technology Manager: Sven Mumme
Lead Performer: Elizabeth Krietemeyer, Syracuse University

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